The amount of currency in the hands of citizens increased to a new high of Rs 30.88 lakh crore in October, a report by the Reserve Bank of India said earlier this week, according to PTI.

The amount of currency with the public as on October 21 was 71.84% higher than the amount for the fortnight that ended on November 4, 2016, just four before the demonetisation exercise. The amount of cash with the public on November 4, 2016, was Rs 17.7 lakh crore.

Currency with the public refers to cash used by citizens to buy goods and services. The figure is calculated by deducting the amount of cash with banks from the total amount of currency in circulation.

On November 8, 2016, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had announced the demonetisation exercise under which notes of denominations of Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 would become cease to be legal tender in India from midnight. One of the stated aims of the move was to reduce the usage of cash and increase the use of digital transactions instead.

Opposition parties had alleged that the exercise failed to achieve its stated objectives, and instead caused hardship to common citizens who depended on cash for their daily needs.

Several persons, many of them elderly, had died while standing in long queues to exchange their money. As millions of families were left stranded with no cash, many even killed themselves after failing to exchange old notes for valid currency.

The Supreme Court is currently hearing a group of petitions challenging the legal validity of the demonetisation exercise. The petitioners have claimed that the move violated several constitutional rights of citizens, such as the right to property (Article 300A), right to equality (Article 14), right to carry on any trade, business or occupation (Article 19) and right to life and right to livelihood (Article 21).

On October 12, the Supreme Court asked the Centre and the Reserve Bank of India to file comprehensive affidavits in response to the petitions. The court is slated to hear the matter next on November 9.